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Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Croizat, first U.S. Marine Advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps, translates during discussions between Lieutenant General John 'Iron Mike' 0'Daniel, USA, Chief, USMAAG, Vietnam, and Premier Ngo Dinh Dum. (Photo courtesy of Colonel Victor J. Croizat, USMC (Ret.)).






rate Marine 'NCO'-one who could carry out the most complex assignment with little or no supervision.' 4

Soon after 1956 opened. President Diem appointed a new officer to head the Vietnamese Marine Corps. On 18 January Major Phan Van Lieu assumed command of the VNMC, and thereby became the second Senior Marine Officer.

Reorganisation and Progress

The 1st Landing Battalion remained in action against the Binh Xuyen remnants until February 1956. During this period Lieutenant Colonel Croi-zat reviewed the entire organizational structure of the Vietnamese Marine Corps. By now the size of the service had been reduced to roughly 1,800 officers and men although it retained its original organization of six river boat companies, five light support companies, a landing battalion, a training flotilla, and a small headquarters.

This organization, with so many dissimilar units existing on one echelon, influenced Croizat to suggest that Major Lieu restructure the service. Assisted by Croizat, Captain Breckinridge, and Technical Sergeant Tracy, Lieu and his small staff spent several months developing and refining plans for the comprehensive reorganization of the Marine Corps. Lieu submitted this package to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff (JGS) on 21 December 1955. The salient feature of the plan was to create an additional landing battalion without increasing the 1,837-man ceiling which then governed the size of the VNMC. Significantly, the plan contained a clause proposing that the Vietnamese Marine Corps be expanded to regimental size in the future.5

The Vietnamese Joint General Staff approved the new structure, and reorganization of the

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